Blackjack Strategy: Read the Rules

Most people know that you can’t sit down at a blackjack table without knowing what you’re doing and make money. Just randomly picking what to do in blackjack results in a house edge of, oh, I don’t know, probably around 90%.

Okay, admittedly, I made up that number. I don’t know what the house edge would be in that situation, but it would be very high. Most people know that you have to memorize blackjack basic strategy and stick to it, but even then the casino has a slight advantage (0.5%), unless you count cards correctly.

There is one part of blackjack strategy that people often forget, though, and that is to read the rules. Let me make this very clear. Not all blackjack tables have the same rules. There are countless variations in the rules in both online casinos and the brick and mortar variety. Therefore, you should not assume that you know what the rules are for that particular blackjack game. Unless you have played at that particular table enough times that you know the rules already, you should always familiarize yourself with the rules before you play.

Rules variations can significantly affect the house edge and your decisions. Though a natural blackjack traditionally pays 3:2, some table pay 6:5 and I’ve even seen even money tables. At some tables the dealer will hit a soft 17 while at others he will stand. Some tables will allow you to split any pair, while others will only allow you to split tens or nines and tens. Some blackjack games let you resplit while others don’t. Some blackjack games offer insurance and late surrender, while others do not. Those are just a few of the many rule variations you will find at blackjack tables.

For that reason, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules before you play. At a brick and mortar casino, you can usually find the rules clearly printed on the table itself. If you’re unsure about any rules, feel free to ask the dealer. For online blackjack, it is even easier, because you can simply go to a section of the website that explains the rules. If you have any questions, you can contact customer service. You should never play blackjack without knowing all of the rules for that game ahead of time.

By knowing the rules, you can make sure you don’t make an error in judgment and make sure you are following the correct strategy. In addition, it helps you know whether that is even a blackjack table at which you want to play. If the rules aren’t good, you might want to find somewhere else to play. But you will never know that if you don’t check.

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